With endless innovative brands popping up on almost a weekly basis, it’s easy to get wrapped up in what’s new and different while forgetting about the staple names that have been with us since the start. The year Boots’ own brand makeup and skincare label No7 is celebrating eighty years since its inception, way back in 1935. One of the golden eras of the last century, the 1930’s saw the birth of a new kind of woman that was interested in makeup and beautifying themselves like never before. Although the Boots brand dates back to 1849 (when John Boot, an agricultural worker from a Nottinghamshire village, wanted to make a living out of his interest in medical botany – which he’d learnt from his mother,) Number Seven launched in 1935 and was described as: “A series of deluxe Beauty Preparations in which is embodied more than 50 years’ experience of Toilet Preparations”. I’m not sure the modern marketer would use ‘deluxe’ and ‘toilet’ in the same sentence, but it seemed to work at the time!
Enormous effort was made to make Number Seven a premium and aspirational product: Pierre Bongard was brought from Paris to produce new fragrances, the packaging was designed by the celebrated Carlton Studios and Mrs Dalrymple, a leading writer of beauty articles, was engaged to help with the publicity for the new range. In an old-school approach to PR, she arranged cocktail parties to which she invited housewives, celebrities and journalists – no doubt handing them a little goodie bag to encourage them to try the products. Prestige magazines of the day (including Tatler, Britannia & Eve and Vogue,) featured dazzling girls with the advertising slogan ‘The Modern Way to Loveliness’, while the modern image was brought to life by models in trousers or with naked shoulders. (Practically the Topshop of its day.) The original concept of Number Seven covered skin treatments, but this evolved to offer makeup and later became shortened to No7 as we know and love it today.
To celebrate this incredible story and journey, Boots are launching the No7 80th Anniversary Limited Edition Cosmetics Collection, which includes three new lipglosses, a radiant shimmer palette and two gorgeous new eyeshadow palettes – all cases in delicate golden packaging. Although I have a love-hate relationship with a lot of the No7 products (I personally find them either incredible or utterly useless, with not much being in-between!) these collectively offer wearable shades and workable textures that are well worth a little investment. The eyeshadow palettes have obviously been inspired by the success of the Naked collections that have swept over woman-kind collectively, while the lipglosses are incredibly wearable and a pleasure to pop in your bag. In addition, the highlighter offers a simple way to capture skin’s natural radiance. Although they could have gone more for a vintage look and feel, encapsulating the 1930’s in a modern way, the products are good quality and look the part. They’re affordable, subtle, wearable and inoffensive – what better way to embody the No7 brand for another 80 years?
Just for fun, a selection of Boots No7 adverts from the past 80 years are below…
The No7 80th Anniversary Limited Edition Cosmetics Collection is available now, priced £9.00-£13.00.
Features PR samples unless otherwise stated. To read my full disclaimer, click here.
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